Kristen Rossi, the managing director of the Travel Easy Asia group has published an instruction manual called Maid in Thailand. Undoubtedly the stimulus to do this came from her own experiences as a newbie in Thailand who ended up with a Burmese maid. As she writes in the foreword, “Sometimes the reality (of having a maid) is a complete and total melt-down when you can’t make yourself understood dealing with the simplest of tasks. To top it off, if you think you are frustrated, just think about how your maid feels! Miscommunication can leave you both with quite the mess to clean up.”
Perhaps with the AEC (Asean Economic Community) in mind Ms Rossi has made her book a trilingual one, with the relevant pages in English, Thai and Burmese.
The book is centered on Bangkok, with references to the Villa Market advertising boards for example, but there are similar amenities in Pattaya and Chiang Mai. My own personal experiences with maids were initially disaster areas until we had one middle-aged lady who was recommended to us by a departing expat couple. From then on we were lucky; she arranged for her own replacement, and the replacements did likewise when it was time for them to move on too.
There are eight chapters dealing with the day to day jobs which it is expected that maids can do, from washing and ironing, cleaning, do’s and don’ts, shopping and in the kitchen, and even Time Management, which shows that Kristen Rossi is indeed a brave woman. I have given up trying to get Mrs. Reid ready for any function on time, getting a maid on time will be even harder!
Showing extreme courage in the face of enemy action, author Rossi even has the maid involved in getting ready for parties and asking guests, “Are you finished?” which to me is rather amazing. My maids were all at the level of “Finit lao?”
The bias in the various chapters is either towards the western woman, or to the Thai or Burmese maid. This does take a little bit of getting used to, with the mistress of the house in the first person (in English), and then in another chapter, the maid takes over the first person role reading either the Thai translation or the Burmese.
From chapter Nine onwards, the book is a trilingual cookbook. Not being a cook myself (I have always worked on the principle that if God really wanted me to cook, he wouldn’t have invented McDonalds), I wonder just how successful Ms. Rossi has been getting her Burmese maid to prepare the pecan pear and Roquefort cheese salad, followed by a crust-less salmon vegetable quiche, with instructions to “lightly oil a griddle or frying pan and ignite over medium high heat”, for example! However, I did show the relevant recipes to our Thai maid, who said she was very sure she understood every one and could cook each item, so success there.
At B. 420 it is not an expensive book, and if you cannot find it locally, contact email [email protected] who will assist you.